July 30, 2020
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William Owens understands the value of continuing your education. As an educator himself, he has spent a considerable amount of time on both sides of the classroom.

William OwensOwens is the recipient of the College of Arts and Humanities (COAH) Graduate Fellowship for Underrepresented Minority Students. UWG’s College of Arts and Humanities is now known as the College of Arts, Culture and Scientific Inquiry.

The fellowship is awarded to students who are pursuing a master’s degree in music, history or English. It coincides with the university’s desire to increase the number of graduate degrees obtained by underrepresented minority students in graduate school.

Owens, who is obtaining his master’s degree in music education, has worked with high school students through music for the past 17 years. He served as a band director for 16 years and is now making a shift to teach music technology and AP music theory.

Owens also served as the fine arts department chair at both South Gwinnett and Mountain View High School until spring 2019.

“My basic belief is to give students opportunities and to encourage them to find connections to music so that no matter what they do or where they go, they will be able to find enjoyment with it,” Owens said.

Owens touched on the ways his students influenced his decision to return to the classroom and obtain his master’s degree.

“I’ve always promoted continuing education to my students, so I thought it was time I did so myself,” Owens said.

Dr. Dawn McCord, professor of music education and organ studies at UWG, spoke to the excellence that Owens displays in all aspects of his career, from leadership and performance to collaboration.

“In leadership, William has chaired a department, mentored future teachers, led initiatives in the community, and presented at professional conferences, clinics, and meetings,” she described. “In performance, his bands have performed across the country and abroad with superior ratings in competitions. In collaboration, colleagues have nominated him for awards multiple times, while peers in his online class at UWG affirm his work in writing, assisting, and providing insightful discourse while demonstrating high levels of critical thinking. William is a worthy recipient of the COAH fellowship.”

As an experienced educator, Owens touched on why he believes the COAH graduate fellowship is important for students.

“I believe it is an opportunity to help other minority students know that they are wanted, needed and can succeed in these fields,” Owens concluded. “In doing so, this encourages future generations to continue to strive for excellence.”